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Literally means "Left hand", this is a defensive weapon. Used primarily in conjunction with a rapier, a main gauche is weilded in the off-hand for parrying and occasionally for a thrust. Was fairly popular in the 16th through 18th centuries, mostly for its benefits in a duel-style fight.

While lengths vary as much as any dagger or sword might, it averages around 12-18" blade length with a 6" hilt. There is also usually plenty of hand protection, such as a long (10" or so) quillion, knuckle gaurds, and such. The blade is also a little wider than most daggers, and sometimes sports recessions near the hilt (for trapping the opposing weapon).

Another use for a main gauche is to keep it secret, and then trick your adversary into coming close (with both swords off to one side, probably). Then you can draw your main gauche and kill them easily. The risk to this is that they may be doing the same thing. The other risk is that in addition to being left-handed, it is somewhat underhanded, and using this may earn you a bad reputation as a cheat. On the other hand, all's fair in love and war.

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